"Austin in an outstanding hire, as he brings an innate ability to win in women's volleyball," Plinske said. "As a son of a former volleyball coach and current athletic director, Austin understands the technical components of the sport, how to develop student-athletes to their fullest and the key elements needed to build a strong family culture. Above all, he is a tireless worker and will help us recruit top players to our thriving University."
"I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the CSU-Pueblo Athletic Department as the head women's volleyball coach," Albers said. "This program has the potential to be a major contender within the RMAC and the region and I cannot wait to start that climb with the team this spring. We plan to set the bar really high and work tirelessly to create an infectious excitement for success within our team, our community and our future ThunderWolf prospects."
Albers brings 10 years of collegiate coaching experience to the ThunderWolves and has experience at NCAA, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) levels.
"During my visit to campus I got such a great pulse for the direction of the University and for Pack Athletics and everything about it felt like home," Albers said. "I would like to thank Dr. Plinske and the members of the search committee for jumping on board with my vision and handing over the keys to the program. My family and I are thrilled to be a part of the Pack!"
Albers has spent the last five seasons as head coach at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he produced a 145-57 record and exits as the program's all-time win percentage leader (.718). He received the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 30 Under Thirty Award in 2016, which recognizes the top thirty up-and-coming coaches under thirty years of age in the entire country. He proved his place on the list by earning Region IX North Coach of the Year recognition the past two seasons and the Wyoming Community College Athletic Conference (WCCAC) Coach of the Year, and the NJCAA DI District C Coach of the Year in 2017 and 2018.
He led the Golden Eagles to 25 or more wins in each of his five seasons and guided the team to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament the last two years. LCCC also captured the Region IX Regular Season and Tournament Championships in each of the last two seasons.
The 2018 squad produced a 32-9 overall record, finished ninth at the NJCAA Championships, won the Region IX North Regular Season title and the District C Championship. Avery Nelson earned All-American honors for the second time and signed on to play at NCAA Division I Long Beach State University. Albers also had another player sign with a Division I and sent two to Division II institutions. The 2017 team went 34-8 overall with a 26-2 conference record and finished 10th at the national championships. The squad won the program's second all-time Region IX North regular season title and its first ever Region IX North Conference Tournament Championship.
Albers took over a team that had posted a 14-25 record in 2013 and flipped the script in his first season with a 25-15 mark. In just two seasons at the helm, Albers guided the Golden Eagles to a winning conference record at 17-6 (28-10 overall). LCCC went 28-10 overall and 17-6 in 2016 before surpassing 30 wins and reaching the national tournament in 2017 and 2018.
In his career, Albers has guided 21 players to four-year scholarships, which included eight players who signed at the NCAA Division I level. He has coached three All-Americans and has helped produce two Region IX North Players of the Year, three Region IX North Setters of the Year, two Region IX North Freshman of the Year awards, 16 Region IX All-Region, 18 Region IX North All-Tournament Team and 19 WCCAC All-Conference honorees.
In addition to their success on the court, the Golden Eagles earned the NJCAA Academic Team Award for maintaining above a 3.00 team GPA three times during Albers' tenure.
During his time at Laramie CCC, Albers also was the founder, owner and club director of the Windy City Junior Volleyball Club. He formed the USA Volleyball affiliated club and managed as many as 10 coaches for five club teams, which created additional opportunities for the growth of youth volleyball in Cheyenne.
Prior to accepting his first collegiate head coaching job at LCCC, Albers was an assistant volleyball coach at Sheridan College for two years and also served one season as the interim head men's soccer coach. At Sheridan, Albers assisted in leading the team to a fourth place finish in the Region IX North Conference Tournament in 2013.
Before his time at Sheridan College he was an assistant volleyball coach at Black Hills State University for three seasons. While at BHSU, the Yellow Jackets reached their second straight NAIA National Tournament appearance before making the transition to NCAA Division II.
Albers has been immersed in college athletics and volleyball his entire life, as his father, Jhett Albers, is currently the Director of Athletics at Black Hills State and was the head volleyball coach at BHSU for 11 years.
Albers graduated with honors from Black Hills State University in May of 2012 with a bachelor's degree in exercise science management and a minor in athletic coaching. He played collegiate soccer for Western Nebraska Community College before transferring to BHSU.
Albers will be making the move to Pueblo with his wife, Maggie, and their son, Emmitt.